One thing that can have a big impact on your website is how well you optimise your images. It affects everything from how quickly a page loads to how well a site can be crawled, but it’s still one of the most ignored parts of site optimization.
But if you want to take SEO seriously and get all the benefits that come with having a well-optimized website, you will have to learn how to optimise your images.
If that’s important to you, keep reading, because this article will explain what image optimization is and how you can use it on your website to make sure you’re following the best practises for your site.
Read our blog What is Search Engine Optimization(SEO)? To improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and to rank your website at the top of search engine results.
What exactly does “Image Optimization” mean?
Simply put, it is the process of getting images with the best quality possible while keeping the image file size as small as possible. This is so important because it speeds up the time it takes for a page to load.
SEO is the second part of optimising an image. This includes optimizing your photographs so they appear on image search engines like Google.
A big part of image optimization is figuring out how to shrink image file sizes without losing quality so that your pictures look great on both desktop and mobile devices. By finding a good balance between a few parameters, we can make sure that our images are of the highest quality without slowing down the web.
Why Does Image Optimization Matter?
So why bother to optimise your images in the first place? Well, images make up a big part of the weight of your website, especially if they aren’t optimised. This means that they have a big effect on how long it takes your site to load. In fact, they are one of the most important things that affect how long it takes for your page to load.
How long it takes for your site’s content or a page to load is very important because that’s what your visitors have to deal with when they visit your site. Page load time has a big effect on your sales, especially if you have an e-commerce site. You don’t want customers to have to wait around while your page loads, especially if they might change their minds about buying if they can’t do it quickly.
The first byte of data from the web server to your browser takes milliseconds, but if it’s delayed by a second or two, it can affect your site’s ranking in Google’s algorithm. More importantly, visitors will leave if a page doesn’t load immediately. You can avoid all of this by making sure that your images are optimized well.
How to Optimize Images on Websites
Let’s go straight into some of the variables that go into website optimization. These are undoubtedly some of the most important factors to consider while optimising your website, but there are many more.
The Following Is a List of Topics:
- Choosing The Right Format
- Optimizing Image Names
- Resizing Images
- Use Image Sitemaps
- Optimizing Alternative Attributes
- Image Optimizing Tools
- Additional Tips and Tricks
- Test, Test Again, and Then Test Some More
Choosing The Right Format
When deciding on a file type for your website’s photos, take in mind the following three options. Let’s check out how to make sure you’re using the best structure.
- The image quality is best in PNG format. It’s great quality comes at a steep cost, as it’s also the largest file size. These are used when absolute fidelity to the original image is required; they are uncompressed and, while lossless by default, can be set to allow lossy compression.
- JPEG is an intermediate format between RAW and PNG in terms of both image quality and file size. You may significantly reduce the file size of a JPEG by lowering the quality setting.
- The 256 colour limit of GIFs makes them ideal for animations. Although GIFs compress without losing quality, they are typically employed for moving images.
- JPEGs are fantastic because they offer two different rendering modes. Unlike baseline loading, which shows the highest quality image from top to bottom, progressive loading shows a lower quality image at the outset and gradually improves it as the page loads. Using JPEGs can improve the user experience for those with slower internet connections.
Alternatively, next-generation formats like WebP and JPEG-XR can give great quality while also having reduced file sizes; these are the formats you want if you’re trying to minimise image file size without sacrificing quality. This format is great for SEO, but not all browsers support it, so a fallback picture may be needed.
Optimizing Image Names
Search engine optimization experts are aware that search engines index the filenames of images together with the text on a webpage. For this reason, it is crucial for image SEO to use descriptive, keyword-rich, and contextual file names.
Think about keywords that correspond to the search intent your target audience would have if your website specialises in a specific topic. Using these as filenames for your images is a brilliant idea. Instead than trying to think of extremely particular names, try to be as descriptive as possible.
This is a fantastic method to boost your On-Page SEO and climb the SERPs. Aside from image optimization, investing in an SEO tool is worthwhile if you want to improve your On-Page SEO. This not only aids in keyword optimization, which is necessary for naming picture files, but also various other aspects of SEO.
Caching is a great way to make sure your page loads quickly, especially if it has a lot of images. With caching, the image files are stored in a browser’s cache or on a proxy server. This can help cut down on the number of times each page is downloaded and asked for by an application.
This does mean that images need to be stored on several point-of-presence servers that are spread out around the world. Images are served from the server that is closest, which makes page load times much faster.
Your rank is affected by how long it takes for your page to load, but that also means that faster load times help you. Most people won’t wait more than a few seconds for your page to load, so it’s in your best interest to keep the time it takes to load as short as possible.
One way to do this is to change the size of your photos. It’s important to find a good balance between size and resolution. The file size will be bigger if the resolution is better. Try to keep image sizes as small as possible while still getting the effect you want. You can also only show a thumbnail and send the full-size image only if someone asks for it.
Use Image Sitemaps
The answer to this problem is easy to find. Just put where these images are in an image sitemap. You can either add a line of code to your robots.txt file or use Google Search Console to send Google the sitemap. Don’t forget to give the images you use specific tags, and if you want, you can make a separate sitemap that only lists images.
By using Google sitemaps, Google can find out more about the images on your website than it would be able to on its own. This doesn’t guarantee that Google will index the images, but it is a good SEO practise that can help your website rank higher on SERPs (search engine results pages).
Optimizing Alternative Attributes
Browsers don’t always know how to show images correctly, so they have alt attributes that let them show text instead. Alt attributes are also a big part of making the web accessible. Depending on how your browser is set up, you can hover over the image to see the alt attribute text even after the image has been shown.
Alt attributes add SEO value to your website, but they also help you rank higher on search engine results pages. This is true as long as you’ve put the right keywords on the images on your website. If you have an online store, this is probably something you need to pay attention to if you want your products to show up in Google’s search and image results.
Image Optimizing Tools
Adobe Photoshop is probably the most well-known programme for working with images. But many people don’t know that Adobe lets you save images in a way that makes them better for the web.
TinyPNG is another great browser-based tool that uses smart lossy compression to make your PNG files smaller. All you have to do is go to their website, drag and drop the image you want, and they will let you download the compressed version. They also have a website like this for images in the JPEG format.
Additional Tips and Tricks
Think about how you usually look around a website. When you’re reading something interesting, you don’t usually scroll down quickly. Instead, you spend a lot of time on what you’re reading and slowly move towards the bottom of the page. Lazy loading takes advantage of this pattern of behaviour.
There’s no real reason to load the images at the bottom of the page right away, since you only need to see the ones that are relevant to what you’re reading and are in the reader’s view. Instead, you can load a placeholder image and only load the real images when the viewer scrolls down far enough to see them.
The Blur Up technique is a great way to give your audience the illusion of a faster loading time. Using this technique on your images is better than showing your audience a blank screen, even though it doesn’t speed up page load time.
If you can’t reduce image file size without losing quality, you’re stuck with huge image files on a page, which slows load time. Under the Blur Up approach, you load a LQI first and then the full size image to make it appear faster.
Instead of a blank screen, the user sees images loading faster than they are. One of your site’s most useful tricks, this improves user experience.